With the big Memorial Day weekend coming up to kick off the traditional summer season, we hope lifeguards will make every attempt to convert “mindlessness” to “mindfulness.” In a survey we recently conducted and published in IJARE, vol. 7, issue 1 with nearly 900 lifeguards, one of the most common responses lifeguards said they feel while lifeguarding is “bored” and “boredom” while providing visual surveillance.
One lifeguard even described his or her tour of duty on the stand as “…mind numbing.” So let’s begin the summer with a reality check. Let’s face it, lifeguards do get bored. But how do they prevent or reduce this boredom?
This vitally important topic should be discussed candidly before and during the early stages of the summer. Ask your guards when and how they become disengaged while on duty. Then ask them to consider ways of mitigating this dangerous daydreaming. Have the lifeguards discuss boredom amongst themselves and come up with strategies to stay focused. Taking a few deep breaths, counting the patrons in the pool, snapping a rubber band on the wrist, and hand clapping are a few good ways lifeguards can snap back into focus while on the stand. These are just a few techniques the Pool Management Group scanning committee came up with to combat the problem of inattentiveness with their more than 1,500 lifeguards. We will continue to work with the Pool Management Group and its Partner Companies to develop more focused scanning.
What will your lifeguards do to overcome “smooth-sailing scanning?” Challenge them to develop scanning strategies of their own to maintain focus on the pool before it’s too late. A moment of inattentiveness can lead to the loss of life. We can do better this summer.